Life of a working woman

She wakes up before the morning walkers of the locality; she can cook from Chinese to Italian cuisine; she manages to attend the business meeting with a business suit and a family wedding with gajra on her hair. I am talking about her, the superwoman of the family who makes our home and life livable and yet did not let her career go. The representation of women in labour force has been increasing over the time, but, sadly, the expectations of the society from a women as well as the prescribed gender roles remain rigidly same as it was decades back. Therefore, women who have determined to have a work life are doubly jeopardized. Whether to conform to the gender roles and be a favourite daughter-in-law or to become ambitious and work for that promotion is the kind of conflict working women face every day.

The problems faced by a working woman:

1. No time for leisure!
Look at their lives! They are juggling all the time between tasks and responsibilities to manage group meetings, child care, and domestic responsibilities. In a study by Colbech (2005), it was found that female faculties get significantly less personal time. I am sure all of you have observed working women in their holidays stressing about their old in-laws and parents, polishing finger-nails while taking urgent office calls, and calling parents during the lunch hours of office. Being sandwiched between office and home liabilities they actually get no time for self-care ,forget about leisure. Years pass by, but they rarely get a moment to enjoy a moment with no stress, I mean when they can look at the sky without any worries in the mind.

2. Guilt
Although working women are always busy to manage, accommodate, and adjust; most of them suffer from intense guilt. Indra Nooyi (Chief Executive Officer of Pepsico) once stated “We pretend we have it all, we pretend we can have it all”. What most of the working women forget is, no one can be perfect in all the roles they are playing. If one wants to be a traditionally perfect mother she needs to let go the dreams of grow high in the ladder of office. We all have limitations, right?The guilt not only impacts your mental health and makes you less effective but also let others play blame games. There is no wrong in choosing career and being ambitious, there is no wrong in prioritizing your family over your work either. Therefore, all you need to do is letting go the fear and guilt your have.

3. Fatigue
The continuous struggle that a working woman faces often makes them chronically fatigued and tired. Lack of rest and proper self-care accumulated over the years make women highly vulnerable to be physically as well as emotionally exhausted. They end up having a grumpy mood all the time or they withdraw themselves emotionally. In both the the scenarios, their mental health is at stake.

4. Balance?
The idea of work life balance is meaningless a concept for the working women. Border theorists of work life balance hold that workplace and family is like two nations with a border in between them. Therefore, if someone spends more time in one country and is more loyal to one country, the relationship with the other country is badly affected if both the countries are not in harmony. For women, the permeability of the border is less, i.e. they cannot bring their office files to their home. But, males are often accepted and even expected to do their office work with Sunday breakfast or take office calls. Therefore, the balance becomes more challenging a concept for women in comparison with men.

5. Discrimination and stereotype
When we talk about stigma, stereotype, and discrimination we understand that most of the time all of these come as a result of asymmetric dissemination of power and resources. Women, being the weaker sex are surely deprived and discriminated to a great extent. For working women, the discrimination comes from both sides. The office boss and male colleagues perceive them less competent and efficient due to their gender, often women are chosen by the authority to take lesser responsibility as a result of this mentality. Glass-ceiling is another potent problem every working woman is victim of. Inside the home also, the discrimination and stereotype is very obvious. Although they provide a good percentage in the finance, a woman is never considered to be the provider of the family. No matter how much she earns and what professional position she holds, inside the family, women, especially in Indian context are expected to behave in a socially prescribed manner. And this role is often defined in terms of showing submissiveness towards the husbands and the male authority figures in the family. I know working women who does not have bank account of their own. They work for the family and yet never get the respect or value they deserve. To put it in one sentence, they are often perceived to be less of an employee in office and less of a home-maker, wife, and mother inside family.

What you need to do from now:
I know being working woman you are already doing lot more than human potential, but, trust me; you are doing a lot of injustice to yourself. When did the last time you went for a health check up? Did you ever care to go for a breast cancer examination? You are brave enough to choose your career and use your potential, then why being so self-critical? Stop telling yourself that you are doing the job for the family, for finance, or for children; it is perfect if you are doing a job just for yourself. Caring for others is your virtue, but, it should not compromise your self-care. Stop self-silencing in a heated argument in the fear of losing a relationship. You are not doing anything wrong to be ashamed of. Sometimes, buy a bunch of flowers for yourself and visit your old friends. Sometime take a break and listen to your favourite gazals. The attempt of being perfect in all the roles is making you tired and exhausted, if not physically unwell. Learn to let go the need for perfectionism.

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